UC San Diego Employees: Check out this flyer for ways to save on solar purchasing for your home!

Local employers throughout San Diego County, including the University of California – San Diego, have just launched a new group solar purchasing (bulk-buy) program to help make residential solar simple and affordable.

If you’ve ever thought about installing solar but don’t know where to start or think it’s just too expensive, San Diego SunShares is here to help!

UC San Diego is participating in the outreach of the SunShares program to help support local and statewide clean energy goals, engage employees, retirees and alumni in this limited time initiative and demonstrate our commitment to sustainability.
If you live in San Diego County or any of the major metro areas throughout California and are a homeowner, you are eligible to participate.
I’d like to encourage you to find out more about San Diego SunShares by visiting:
http://www.mygroupenergy.com/sandiegosunshares

Next Steps:
1. Sign-up. UC San Diego wants to help our workforce and alumni understand the basics of solar and if plugging into the sun could be a good fit for your home. Sign up by October 31st to receive a no cost proposal.
http://www.join.mygroupenergy.com/sandiegosunshares/
2. Schedule. The program has screened and pre-selected a highly qualified and experienced solar installer (Sunrun). The program will work with you and Sunrun to schedule your home solar evaluation. Once you receive a proposal, there is no obligation to move forward with your project.
3. Install. If you decide to move forward with solar installation, sign your contract by November 6, 2015 to take advantage of the discounted program pricing. A range of financing options including power purchase agreements, direct ownership and PACE are available.
It’s that simple. San Diego SunShares pools the power of individual participants to get more competitive pricing from solar companies – with an additional incentive that provides even better savings as more people contract for solar on their homes.
More participants mean a better deal for you and more reliable solar power for our community, so please help spread the word to your colleagues, friends and neighbors!
Should you have any questions, please contact: sandiegosunshares@votesolar.org

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Last Day of the SRC Tour: Meet our plants! (and more)

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Of course, we couldn’t end our tour without shedding some light (pun intended) on our plant friends! Meet Patrick, Hector, Enders Jr., and Squidward! We also have quite a few unnamed plants, but each one is still special in its own way. Each plant in our center is drought-resistant, and full of character! It’s always nice to walk into our green-inspired space and have some actual green living there!

Here at UC San Diego, we have partnered with Office Max and TerraCycle in the “Writing Instrument Brigade“. This program allows any and all people on campus to turn in their empty writing instruments to a specific drop-off space (such at the SRC) in order to help recycle and upcycle the instrument’s remaining materials. If you’re on campus, please feel free to stop by and drop off your old pens and markers for proper disposal!

Speaking of pens, check out our custom “Eco Writer” pens! Not only are they made from recyclable and post-consumer materials, but they’re also from a local California company! We love these pens because they can also double as a stylus for smartphones, tablets, and any other touch screen technologies. You’ll also see under our pen that we have been using “scratch paper notepads”, which were made by some of our very own Student Sustainability Collective members out of old essays, study guides, etc. Here at UCSD, we really strive to make sure we use what we have before turning to new materials.

To conclude our tour, we wanted to thank you all for following our tour updates. It has been a great couple of weeks sharing our space with you, and we look forward to sharing more info about sustainability! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at sustain@ucsd.edu .

SRC Tour Day 7- What does “Post-Consumer” Mean?

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We take pride in the fact that so many of our features are made from recycled and sustainable products. But what exactly does “post-consumer” mean? By the looks of our counter top, it may be difficult to understand the work behind it that makes it such a sustainable item.

By definition, “post-consumer” really just means that: it something that exists after the consumer uses it! We all generate waste, and we all have some way of disposing of products we no longer use. However, the issue from this is that much of our waste goes straight to landfills–which are definitely not bottomless pits that will stay the same size forever!

A great solution to so much post-consumer waste is recycling whatever materials we possibly can before the non-recyclable parts are sent to the landfills. We then use the recycled parts to create awesome products like our countertop! Made from 50% post-consumer cardboard, you’d think it would be a bit floppy like a packing back. However, this thing is extremely sturdy, and it also looks really nice!

So the next time you go shopping, look for post-consumer recycled products. This not only decreases our needs for “brand new” products to be made- it also means that we’re making an effort to reuse what’s already available! And that’s sustainable living!

SRC Tour Day 6- Bamboo: Who Knew?

In recent years, there has been a booming interest in bamboo-made materials. Though it may have seemed a little odd at first, compared to our comfort zone of cotton and our usual trees, the colorful stalks have become the eco-friendly and sustainable alternative. What makes bamboo so great? Well, to start, bamboo can grow 3 to 4 feet per day without any fertilizers or pesticides, and it also needs very little water! Bamboo stalks mature in about 7 years, which is a stark improvement from the 20-30 years of trees. A grove can release about 35% more oxygen than standard trees, which also helps improve soil conditions and prevents erosion.

Because it’s so much easier to farm, bamboo has become the latest material for floors, cabinetry, furniture, and even clothes! The technology in making bamboo easier to convert to clothing and paper is still an ongoing process, but it goes to show that those lanky stalks are definitely worth some effort and innovation!

Source: http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-eco-friendly-bamboo

Our recycled glass back splash and bamboo shelves

Our recycled glass back splash and bamboo shelves

SRC Tour Day 5: Direct Current Power & Eco-Friendly Paint

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According to NASA Science, “Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.” What does this mean for our center? Well, because we are utilizing the unidirectional power for direct current electricity, we are saving energy by not converting it into an alternating current. We also use less energy because we channel our DC power through LED lighting, which helps provide clean and efficient lighting!

As our plaque states, all of the paints used in our center are Green Seal Certified. This means that they do not any VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), which can be very harmful to human health, as well as our environment. In order to become Green Seal Certified, manufacturers must pay thousands of dollars to have their products assessed. The assessments evaluate raw materials, VOC’s, and the paint’s ultimate performance.

Day 4: SRC Tour

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Some of you may be wondering: what does “Cradle to Cradle” mean? Well according to the online sustainability dictionary, the term cradle to cradle refers to the materials used for objects being 100% recyclable or reusable:

“A phrase invented by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s and popularized by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book of the same name. This framework seeks to create production techniques that are not just efficient but are essentially waste free. In cradle to cradle production all material inputs and outputs are seen either as technical or biological nutrients. Technical nutrients can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality and biological nutrients composted or consumed.”

Source: http://www.sustainabilitydictionary.com/cradle-to-cradle/

As you can see, cradle to cradle products are the preferred choice because they’re completely sustainable. And who wouldn’t want to feel better knowing that their products don’t ultimately sit in a landfill in the end?